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High incidence rate of vertebral fractures during chronic prednisone treatment, in spite of bisphosphonate or alfacalcidol use. Extension of the 'Alendronate or alfacalcidol in glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis'-trial.

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2010 Vol.28, N°3
PI 0354, PF 0359
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PMID: 20406615 [PubMed]

Received: 15/09/2009
Accepted : 08/01/2010
In Press: 23/06/2010
Published: 23/06/2010


In the 18 month "alendronate or alfacalcidol in glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis"-trial (STOP-trial) patients with rheumatic diseases who started glucocorticoids were randomised to anti-osteoporosis therapy with either daily alendronate (10 mg) or alfacalcidol (1 μg). In the present observational open follow-up study of the STOP-trial, we report the long-term effects of risk factors on the incidence and pattern of vertebral fractures, assessed using the Genant method.
Of the 201 included patients in the STOP-trial, 163 completed the trial and of those 116 underwent a follow-up radiography of the spine. Twenty-eight patients had developed one or more new vertebral fractures since the end of the STOP-trial. The majority of fractures was wedge shaped and the deformities were intermediate to severe in both the former alendronate and alfacalcidol group. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that STOP-trial medication and presence of pre-existing fractures did not predict development of new fractures, whereas age and cumulative glucocorticoid-dose did.
During the follow-up 2.7 years after the STOP-trial both in the former alendronate and alfacalcidol group 24% of the patients underwent at least one new vertebral fracture. This underlines that prevention of vertebral fractures remains a clinical challenge, even when anti-osteoporosis drugs are prescribed.

Rheumatology Article